04/17/2020, 10.37
CHINA
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Coronavirus: Chinese GDP collapses, the first time since 1976

In the past 20 years it had grown by 9% average. Exports are also falling, driving the Chinese economy. At least 205 million jobs lost due to the pandemic, but the estimates do not take into account 122 million migrant workers.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Chinese economy collapsed in the first quarter of the year registering a growth of -6.8%, the first time since the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976.

The contraction of the national gross domestic product is due to quarantine and halt in production to combat coronavirus. Over the past 20 years, the average annual increase has been 9%.

Analysts' forecasts were for a more contained fall (-6%), while the International Monetary Fund had calculated a decrease of 8% compared to the same period of 2019. A slowdown to 1.2% is estimated for the entire year of 2020 (in 2019 the Chinese GDP grew by 6.1%.). Without a growth of at least 6%, the regime will not be able to keep its promise to double the GDP compared to 2010 levels.

The March numbers are better than those of the first two months of the year, but the spread of the pandemic to other countries limits the possibility of a rapid recovery. China, considered the "world’s factory", remains heavily dependent on foreign exports, especially to the US and Europe, which are heading for economic recession. In the January-March period, Chinese exports fell by 11.4%; imports marked -0.7%.

The drop in fixed investments (16.1%), industrial production (1.1%) and retail sales (19%) shows that the economy of the Asian giant is struggling to recover. And this despite the Trivium National Business Activity Index calculating that Chinese companies are working at 82% of their capabilities.

According to a recent independent study, 205 million Chinese are unable to return to work. In March the unemployment rate was 5.9%, slightly improving compared to the negative record of the previous two months (6.2%). However, these figures do not take into account the 122 million migrant workers who were unable to reach their place of employment due to traffic restrictions. They mostly come from rural areas, where average income has fallen by 4.7%. Nationwide the drop was 3.9%.

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